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Turmeric could improve memory and mood

A UCLA study has found that turmeric has the potential of improving memory as well as mood.

According to a study published by UCLA researchers in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry daily consumption of a certain form of curcumin – turmeric – has the potential of improving memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss. For the study researchers examined the effects of an easily absorbed curcumin supplement on memory performance in people without dementia, as well as curcumin’s potential impact on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin is found in turmeric and previous studies have shown it to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have indicated that because of this people in India – specifically older ones – have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and better cognitive performance.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 years who had mild memory complaints. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily for 18 months.

All 40 subjects received standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and at six-month intervals, and monitoring of curcumin levels in their blood at the start of the study and after 18 months. Thirty of the volunteers underwent positron emission tomography, or PET scans, to determine the levels of amyloid and tau in their brains at the start of the study and after 18 months.

The people who took curcumin experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities, while the subjects who received placebo did not, researchers said. In memory tests, the people taking curcumin improved by 28 percent over the 18 months. Those taking curcumin also had mild improvements in mood, and their brain PET scans showed significantly less amyloid and tau signals in the amygdala and hypothalamus than those who took placebos.

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Justine Forster

Justine Forster

With several years in the medical field—both as a practitioner and an administrator—Justine has a unique perspective on the health industries. From medical technology to cancer research, she covers our health industry.

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